Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

What happened at the Liquor Board on March 10, 2016.

April 8, 2016

Chairman Neil and Commissioners Trotter and Hafey were present for hearings on March 10, 2016.

Commissioner Elizabeth Hafey began the hearings with a tribute to former Chairman Thomas Ward, who passed away on March 6, 2016. Hafey said that Ward was the Chairman for a year, from 2014-2015. She did not have the honor of meeting him, but she heard wonderful things about him. He was a mentor, a teacher, and a great person. Until she read his obituary, she had not realized how expansive his public service was. Ward served as a judge for 15 years and was a city council member in mid-1960s. She was inspired to see what Ward has done for Baltimore City, having dedicated his life and career to public service, which is something that we can all aspire to.

I. Regular Items:

Applicants Samuel Curreri, Jerry Waddell & Swayne Hiltner
Business Name Sam’s Italian Restaurant, LLC
Trading As Sammy’s Trattoria
Address 1200-02 N. Charles Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application for an expansion: add 800 sq. ft. next to restaurant
Hearing notes

Mr. Melvin Kodenski represented the applicants, two of whom were present, in their request to add an 800-square foot expansion. The expansion will accommodate 40-50 more patrons. The restaurant has been at that location for ten years and has never had a problem. Mr. Eric Evans, chairman of the liquor committee for the Mount Vernon Belvedere Association, testified that the association does not oppose the request and has had no problem with the owners.

Zoning B-4-2
Neighborhood Mid-Town Belvedere
Area demographics 53% White, 32% Black, 8% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 6% households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $38,331; 5.5% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 61%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

Administrative record basics: The Liquor Board is not subject to the Administrative Procedure Act. However, the Board is still required to set forth reasons why it has made its decision, drawing from the facts presented and the section of Article 2B that applies to the situation. In this case, and in the vast majority of cases heard by this set of commissioners, there was no significant discussion of the law or the facts; instead, there was merely a vote, which is not sufficient to stand up on appeal.

Applicants Giuseppe Greco & Jeffrey Keeney
Business Name KG JJ, LLC
Trading As Trade name pending
Address 2 E. Wells Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application for a new Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor restaurant license under the provisions of Article 2B Section 6-201 (d) (vii) $500,000 in capital investment in restaurant fixtures and facilities and seating capacity for a minimum of 75 people, request for off-premise catering
Hearing notes

Ms. Caroline Hecker and Mr. Justin Williams, of Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, proffered the case on their clients’ behalf. They submitted a letter of support from the South Baltimore Neighborhood Association. The applicants have received zoning approval to use their property as a restaurant. It will be a culinary-driven establishment, featuring American cuisine, upscale craft beer and cocktails. Most of their sales will come from food, not alcohol. There will be 129 indoor seats. Hecker submitted a capital investment breakdown for the project, showing that her clients are well over the required $500,000 capital investment. Because there are relatively few other restaurants at the bottom of South Baltimore, this restaurant will provide a unique service to the neighborhood, said Hecker, and will not have any negative impacts on the public health, safety, or welfare. The restaurant will be on the first floor of an apartment building, which the landlord controls, so he has every incentive to ensure that the business is not rowdy.

Commissioner Neil told Hecker that she did an excellent job addressing the elements in Article 2B section 10-202(a).

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood South Baltimore
Area demographics 90% White, 3% Black, 3% Asian; 3% Hispanic ethnicity; 15% households have children under age 18; median household income: $73,342; 8% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Upperco, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 37.5%
Attorney for licensee Ms. Caroline Hecker and Mr. Justin Williams, Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

Administrative record basics: The Liquor Board is not subject to the Administrative Procedure Act. However, the Board is still required to set forth reasons why it has made its decision, drawing from the facts presented and the section of Article 2B that applies to the situation. In this case, and in the vast majority of cases heard by this set of commissioners, there was no significant discussion of the law or the facts; instead, there was merely a vote, which is not sufficient to stand up on appeal.

In this hearing, Chairman Neil commented that Ms. Hecker had discussed all of the required factors in state law during her presentation: all licensees and their representatives should be expected to cover all of these factors. If the applicant before the commissioners does not cover the factors on his or her own, then the commissioners should ask followup questions to ensure that all of the relevant facts are on the record. The factors, as listed in Article 2B section 10-202(a) are: “1. The public need and desire for the license; 2. The number and location of existing licensees and the potential effect on existing licensees of the license applied for; 3. The potential commonality or uniqueness of the services and products to be offered by the applicant’s business; 4. The impact on the general health, safety, and welfare of the community, including issues relating to crime, traffic conditions, parking, or convenience; and 5. Any other necessary factors as determined by the board.”

It is a sign of dysfunction at the agency when addressing the minimum requirements of obtaining a liquor license is so rare that it is remarked on by the chairman of the board.

Applicants Ryan Moore, Deresse Harris & Tsega Tefera
Business Name T&DH, LLC
Trading As Trade name pending
Address 318 Park Avenue
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

Mr. Herbert Burgunder represented the three applicants in a transfer of a longstanding Class A liquor store license, which has been owned for close to 30 years by the current licensee. Burgunder explained that the business has not been open consistently, and the owner is ready to sell and retire. There are few other liquor stores in close proximity to this store. The Zoning Administrator provided a letter stating that a liquor store is a permitted use in a B-4-2 zone.

Commissioner Trotter asked whether the applicants will be purchasing the real property of the business. Burgunder replied that an LLC owned by the applicants will purchase the real property. Two separate entities will own the liquor license and the real property. The transfer will be financed through a private associate of Mr. Harris’s, the identity of whom was not included on any of the application documents. Burgunder promised to identify the lender before the approval of the transfer was finalized.

Commissioner Hafey asked whether the applicants have had contact with the community. Burgunder responded that his client has contacted the community, and there are no complaints about the transfer, since his client plans to invest money in the improvement of the property. During the renovations, which will take place within the first two months of the transfer to the applicants, the store will remain open.

The business is currently operating, and the clerks serve customers through plexiglass partitions. There have not been any recent violations.

Chairman Neil asked Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth whether all the paperwork is complete in the application. Bailey-Hedgepeth responded that everything seems to be in order, besides the financial information about the financing of the transfer. Neil responded that there has been some discussion “in the past” about applications not being complete.

Zoning B-4-2
Neighborhood Downtown
Area demographics 39% White, 37% Black, 16% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $38,146; 18% households live below poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 10%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Herbert Burgunder
# in support 3
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

Administrative record basics: The Liquor Board is not subject to the Administrative Procedure Act. However, the Board is still required to set forth reasons why it has made its decision, drawing from the facts presented and the section of Article 2B that applies to the situation. In this case, and in the vast majority of cases heard by this set of commissioners, there was no significant discussion of the law or the facts; instead, there was merely a vote, which is not sufficient to stand up on appeal.

Applicants Birva Patel, David Key & Christine Hryn
Business Name Boz’s Burgers, LLC
Trading As Boz’s Burgers
Address 3101 St. Paul Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership, continue outdoor table service
Hearing notes

Mr. Melvin Kodenski represented the three applicants in their request for a transfer of ownership (not location) of an existing license. The premises formerly operated as Donna’s. The applicant owners of Boz’s Burgers are moving up the block from their former location, where they did not have a liquor license, and they have been operating at this location for a couple months. The applicants have agreed to conditions written in an MOU with the community association, which would attach as conditions to their license.

Ms. Sandy Sparks, president of the Charles Village Civic Association, testified in favor of the transfer, under the conditions in the MOU, which include midnight closing hours Sunday through Thursday and 1:00am closing Friday and Saturday. Outdoor table service was preapproved by ordinance in 1996, but the owners have agreed to only serve alcohol outside if the patrons have also ordered food.

An individual resident wrote a letter opposing smoking in the outdoor seating area. She expressed concern in her letter that the quality of service of Donna’s continue with the new owners and not become a nuisance to the neighbors on 31st Street.

Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke testified in favor of the transfer as well, saying that she was in support of the local merchants staying in the neighborhood and she had reviewed the MOU.

Commissioner Hafey asked about applicant Christine Hyrn, who has no pecuniary interest in the business. Kodenski replied, “Christine’s my Polish contingent.” He said that he would amend the application to give her a 1% pecuniary interest in the business, which can be a condition of the approval.

Zoning B-1-3
Neighborhood Charles Village
Area demographics 53% White, 32% Black, 8% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 6% households have children under age 18; median household income: $38,331; 5.5% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Lutherville, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 17%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Mel Kodenski
# in support 5
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

Administrative record basics: The Liquor Board is not subject to the Administrative Procedure Act. However, the Board is still required to set forth reasons why it has made its decision, drawing from the facts presented and the section of Article 2B that applies to the situation. In this case, and in the vast majority of cases heard by this set of commissioners, there was no significant discussion of the law or the facts; instead, there was merely a vote, which is not sufficient to stand up on appeal.

Completeness: Under Article 2B section 10-202(a)(4)(iii), “[t]he Board or the Board’s designee shall examine each application for the issuance or transfer of a license within 45 days of receipt of the application to determine whether the application is complete.” Only after an application is complete may the matter be scheduled for a hearing (subsection (v)(1)). Article 2B contains another requirement that each applicant hold a pecuniary interest in the business. Because this matter was scheduled for a hearing without this required piece of information, the Board acted outside of its authority by approving the transfer “subject to” a required piece of information.

Applicants Carroll Smith, Jr. & Carrie Everett
Business Name 4200 Parkside Belair, Inc.
Trading As Slim Ace of Club
Address 4200 Belair Road
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership, convert Class “B” BWL to a Class “BD7” BWL, continue live entertainment
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski explained, for his clients, that they are requesting the transfer of ownership of an existing license. Kodenski said that this license pre-exists 1965, which qualifies it to convert to a BD-7, according to Article 2B section 8-203(d). Kodenski said that the agency in the past has “converted numerous licenses” and did so just recently on Aliceanna Street. He explained that the reason that his clients want to convert their license is that they’ve never sold any food, though they have a Class B restaurant license, which requires food sales.

Chairman Neil expressed confusion about the authority for this decision. He asked Kodenski whether, if the Board denied his client’s request, that they would be in violation of the law, due to their lack of food sales. Kodenski said that would be the case, and this is how his client has always run the business. Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth noted that the inspection records shows the business to be run as a restaurant, though the licensees are not required to turn in sales receipts to show a certain percentage of food sales in this legislative district.

Commissioner Hafey, in voting against the conversion, noted that the facts in the Aliceanna case were different: in that case, the licensee converted his license from a BD-7 back to a Class B.

Zoning B-3-2
Neighborhood Belair-Parkside
Area demographics 36% White, 58% Black, 1% Asian; 2% Hispanic ethnicity; 32% households have children under age 18; 5% households below poverty line; median household income: $58,085.61
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 100%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally 2-1 (Hafey dissenting)
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

Commissioner Hafey got the law backwards when she discussed her position during the vote for this case. Article 2B section 8-203(d)(4) does state that owners of Class B licenses may exchange their license for a Class BD-7 license. There is no provision, on the other hand, for changing the license back to a Class B license once it’s been converted to a BD-7, which the Board did in the Aliceanna case alluded to by Kodenski. There was another short time when BD-7 licensees could convert their licenses to Class A-2, but that provision expired in 1996. Other than these two “conversion” subsections, licenses cannot be changed from one class to another.

II. Violations.

Applicant Margarita Del Rosario
Business Name N/A
Trading As El Deportivo Sports Bar
Address 110 S. Haven Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.08(a): Relations with Wholesalers – February 4, 2016 – At approximately 10:05 am, Inspector John Chrissomallis of the BLLC conducted a routine inspection of the establishment when he observed two (2) individuals unloading cases of beer from the back of a pickup truck into the establishment. Inspector Chrissomallis then approached the individuals and identified himself as a BLLC inspector. Inspector Chrissomallis asked if the alcohol that was being brought into the establishment was to be used for purchase at the establishment. The owner/manager, who was present, indicated that the items were to be used for sale in the establishment. Inspector Chrissomallis then asked for a copy of the receipt. The receipt indicated that the alcoholic beverages were purchased from the Corner Ice House on Pulaski Highway. According to the receipt, the owner manager purchased approximately 29 cases of beer totaling $674.40 for resale at his establishment. Inspector Chrissomallis notified the owner/manager of the violation.

Violation of Rule 3.09(b): Restroom Facilities and Health Regulations – February 5, 2016 – At approximately 10:25 pm, the Baltimore City Police Department, Baltimore City Health Department, and BLLC conducted an investigation into the establishment. During the investigation it was determined that the establishment had no running hot water. The Health Department advised the Baltimore City Police Department that if the establishment did not have any running hot water it would have to be closed to the general public. The licensee was advised of the violation and the business was closed.

Hearing notes

The licensee appeared, on her own behalf, with an interpreter. She admitted that the facts provided by the police officers were true: she did not have hot water, and she did purchase alcohol from a liquor store, not a wholesaler. She said that she had ordered alcohol from a wholesaler, but her delivery would not come until the next day, so she bought enough from the liquor store to tide her over. She said that the hot water was back on the next day.

Baltimore Police Detective Greenhill testified that the health department representative told him that if the bar got their hot water back in operation, they could reopen automatically. Jessica Speaker, from the City Health Department, testified that she had received a late night call from the police asking for confirmation that the police department could close a bar for not having hot water. She said that the police can close the business, but if the bar gets their hot water working again, they can reopen.

Upon questioning by the commissioners, Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth testified that the bar has had a previous 311 call, for drug complaints, which was unsubstantiated. The bar has also, however, been found guilty of a violation for public urination, in December 2015.

Liquor Board Inspector John Chrissomallis testified that the staff person that he spoke with was very cooperative and immediately admitted guilt and provided receipts. Chrissomallis did not take the alcohol from the licensee that was purchased illegally, because he did not go there with an agent from the Comptroller’s office, and the quantity of alcohol was way too much to destroy.

Zoning M-2-2
Neighborhood Baltimore Highlands
Area demographics 77% White, 12% Black, 5% Asian; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 18% households have children under age 18; median household income: $54,278
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? N/A
Location of entity’s principal office N/A
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 3
Result of hearing Responsible for both charges. $1,100 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicant Tania Ramos
Business Name La Rumba, LLC
Trading As La Rumba
Address 1650-54 Pratt Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 3.09(b): Rest Room Facilities and Health Regulations – February 6, 2016 – At approximately 12:10 am, the Baltimore City Police Department (BCPD) and BLLC responded to the establishment to conduct an investigation. Upon conducting an inspection the BCPD and BLLC determined that the establishment had no running hot water. This information was communicated to the Baltimore City Health Department who then informed the BCPD to close the establishment due to a health violation. The bar manager was notified of the violation.

Violation of Rule 3.02: Cooperation – February 6, 2016 – At approximately 12:10 am, the Baltimore City Police Department (BCPD) and BLLC responded to the establishment to conduct an investigation. Upon determining that there was an infraction that required the establishment to be closed the BCPD began to clear the bar of patrons. At this time the owner/manager Mr. Nicholas Ramos became very agitated and began yelling and cursing at the BCPD and BLLC. Mr. Ramos began recording the joint task force with a camera. This was not an issue to the taskforce. However, Mr. Ramos then activated a bright light on his camera and began pointing it in the eyes of the BCPD and BLLC. The light was blinding and both the BLLC and BCPD felt like Mr. Ramos’ actions put them at risk.

Violation of Rule 3.12: Public Welfare – February 6, 2016 – At approximately 12:10 am, the Baltimore City Police Department (BCPD) and BLLC responded to the establishment to conduct an investigation. Upon determining that there was an infraction that required the establishment to be closed the BCPD began to clear the bar of patrons. At this time the owner/manager Mr. Nicholas Ramos became very agitated and began yelling and cursing at the BCPD and BLLC and acting in a way that put the safety of local law enforcement at risk. Upon exiting the establishment, Mr. Ramos following both BLLC and BCPD personnel out their vehicles and began yelling at them. At least 4 people on the public walkways who were not involved in this event stopped walking and approached the BLLC and BCPD to observe Mr. Ramos yelling. Due to Mr. Ramos’ actions the BCPD and BLLC took extra precautions when entering their vehicles and leaving the establishment.

Violation of Rule 4.16: Illegal Conduct – February 24, 2016 – At approximately 4:43 pm, the BLLC reviewed the Maryland Judiciary’s Business Records on-line and determined that the trader’s license issued to the La Rumba, LLC was delinquent.

Hearing notes

Before the hearing began, Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth introduced letters from community organizations and individuals, including from: Jeff May, David Kim of the Broadway Business Association, Victor Corbin, Joanne Masopust, and the Washington Hill Community Association.

The licensee was represented by Miguel Palmiero.

Liquor Board Inspector John Chrissomallis testified that he did an inspection of the bar with the police department, as laid out in the charges, and found that the bar had no hot water. The Baltimore City police officers contacted the City Health Department and made the decision to close the bar until the hot water was restored. Mr. Ramos began yelling and cursing when the police told him to close. He started recording the police and activated a bright light on his camera. Chrissomallis said that he felt that Mr. Ramos was out of control, irate, and verbally abusive. He followed the task force officers and inspectors down the street, recording, yelling, and causing a scene. Under cross-examination, Chrissomallis testified further that he often coordinates with police for evening inspections. There were about 12 officers and personnel, total. That particular night, they did about 10 inspections.

Ms. Jessica Speaker, from the City Health Department, confirmed that the health department has the authority to close a food establishment if they do not have hot running water. The health department began receiving complaints about this location around February: through 311 and also through city and state representatives. The complaints were about noise, drunken customers, nuisance issues, uncleanliness, and trash.

Detective Abraham Gatto, from the Vice Unit, corroborated Chrissomallis’s testimony. He said that Ramos was shining a bright light in the officers’ eyes and shouting about how he doesn’t have any prostitution or drugs in his bar. The verbal assault on the officers continued until the officers drove away. They inspected approximately ten establishments that evening and found three were not in compliance with the law.

Baltimore Police Sergeant Chris Leisher testified that he is the one who selects the locations of the evening inspections, based on 911 and 311 calls and other complaints from individuals and police officers or city agencies. They have received a lot of complaints about this particular establishment from many different people. There were three inspections in a nine-day period, because Mr. Ramos refused to fix the hot water issue but kept reopening his business, which he was not allowed to do.

Fells Prospect Community Association president Chrissy Anderson testified that, in a previous hearing on September 23, 2013, she had said that this bar was very close to becoming a blight on the community. She said that, in the intervening time, the situation has gotten worse, not better. She relayed Commissioner Trotter’s comment to Mr. Ramos at that time, that if the establishment did not improve, that he, as a commissioner, would recommend closing the business. Trotter asked Neil, “did I say that?” Anderson also noted that Neil had told the licensees to clean up their business and be a good neighbor. She said that these violations of law were serious health violations, which were a detriment to businesses and residents. The licensees have not been responsive to concerns from community members.

Ms. Tania Ramos, the licensee who runs the business with her husband, Nicolas, apologized to the police officers on behalf of her husband for his conduct. She said that he was very frustrated and desperate, because the economic downturn has hit his business hard. Their property is under water. She told the community members that they cannot continue to push people out of the neighborhood. No one likes the customers at La Rumba, Ms. Ramos said, because they are low-income, don’t dress well, and don’t know about etiquette. She said that, on the same night of the inspection of her business, there was a shooting and a hit and run within a couple of blocks of the establishment. She complained of the stigma that the police presence was putting on her business. She said that the photos that the community members submitted of people passed out behind the restaurant were of homeless people, not her customers. Ramos said that the hot water heater for the business was too small and could not keep up with their needs, so they replaced it. She and her husband have worked in the evenings to get the business up to code.

Jessica Speaker, from the health department, testified that she had been present at a different inspection on February 12, with a few vice squad officers. They observed cockroaches and a dead baby rat on a kitchen counter, as well as lots of clutter in the walk-in cooler, including children’s toys. The women’s restroom did not have hot water. The conditions in the business were generally unsanitary and there were some structural issues with the floor, which felt as though it was giving way under the inspectors’ feet.

Ramos’s attorney then played the video that Mr. Ramos had taken of the incident. Ms. Ramos said, before the video played, that she was appalled by Mr. Ramos’s language, and she apologized again.

Mr. Palmeiro then went through the four alleged violations. He submitted documentation showing that the trader’s license issue under the fourth charge had been fixed. Palmeiro said that the only issue alleged for the rest of the violations is the issue with the hot water. He reiterated that the hot water heater that the Ramoses had was functional but too small. He said that even though his clients didn’t need to do so, they purchased and installed a larger hot water heater. As for the public welfare charge, Mr. Ramos was upset in response to the large police force in his business. Palmeiro said that Mr. Ramos has the right to videotape and to use the light on his cell phone, which could not have interfered with the officers’ duties. Palmeiro concluded that the violations against this business are minute in relation to everything else that happens in Baltimore. There were no fights or other criminal charges.

The executive secretary noted that there had been prior violations within the last 3 years at this location. In 2013, they were found responsible for a sale to a minor. On September 24, 2015, this set of commissioners found the licensee responsible for four similar sanitation and safety violations.

Ms. Anderson, of Fells Prospect, testified that the business has been an ongoing problem, both inside and outside. She said that she has seen the issues herself and taken photos. Anderson testified that she had offered to work with the Ramoses, but they had never reached out to her. Commissioner Trotter asked whether there had been any changes to the business since the last hearing in September; Anderson replied that they had cleaned up some of the mess behind the building, but most of the issues have remained. Ms. Ramos disagreed with this assessment.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Washington Hill
Area demographics From U.S. Census American Community Survey 2013 / Social Explorer: 74.5% Black, 19.5% White, 4.6% Other race, 1.4% Asian
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee Mr. Miguel Palmeiro
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 1
# of inspectors/police officers 5-6
Result of hearing Responsible for all violations. $500 per violation, plus 60 day suspension.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

Commissioner Hafey noted that the police officers were just doing their job and did not deserve to be harrassed. She added that watching the video that Mr. Ramos took was very concerning to her. Commissioner Trotter agreed and said that Mr. Ramos’s disruptive behavior affected the neighborhood. He added, “we don’t need any more riots: Spanish riots, Latino riots.” Commissioner Hafey suggested a higher fine: $2,200 total, but Chairman Neil agreed with Trotter’s lower fine of $2,000: $500 per charge. They all agreed on the 60-day suspension.

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None.

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